14. January 2009 · Comments Off on Day Over · Categories: Ramble

I’m home. I’m tired. I’m frustrated.

I played okay. I received compliments. But it didn’t feel good, and that does matter. I do like the Amram, although I’d love to hear it from the hall, as I can’t hear the piano much from where I’m sitting. I have a pretty mini-solo (really mini) in it … actually I have two, I suppose, but the second doesn’t feel as important to me … and I like the way he writes for English horn.

The Respighi is a bit of a mystery to me. It’s loud. Very loud. Not throughout — the second movement is lovely at the beginning of it. But I can’t quite figure the work out. I’m hopeful that the light’ll go on tomorrow and I’ll fully wrap my ears around it.

While at work Dan called to tell me our credit card company had put a hold on our card and needed to check some charges with me. Of course I couldn’t deal with it until I got home, and for some reason the card is in my name (I don’t know how that happened!) so I had to be the one to call. Sure enough, there’s a charge that isn’t ours. This is the second time I’ve had this happen in my lifetime. I hope it’s the last. I recently charged something online from a company I hadn’t used before … I’m wondering if they are the ones who used my card. (I don’t want to name the company here, in case I’m guessing wrong.)

So now we have a canceled card. I’m not comfortable about my playing. And I think I need an attitude adjustment too.

But Top Chef is on. I’ll just watch food for a while. Maybe that’ll help. Even though there’s no chocolate in the house.

14. January 2009 · Comments Off on BQOD · Categories: BQOD, Ramble

Now comes the really difficult question: Are we instrumental musicians really creative artists? Painful to contemplate! Is the music we play in our various gigs true art, are we instrumentalists worthy to compare ourselves in any way with the likes of Shakespeare, Mahler, Hemingway, Mozart or even John Williams? Is playing a single line instrument in a symphony orchestra, a single sonic fiber, perhaps of great beauty, but only one colorful thread in a rich tapestry of sound, where real individualism and creativity is frequently discouraged, an art form? Or are we really just a kind of sonic soldier repeating our sonic tasks. And again I find myself forming uncomfortable questions that I avoid or am unable to answer.

I remember occasionally hearing great moments of magic from certain symphony musicians but it seems to me that today, that little bit of individualism, where we occasionally get to shine, has become a non personal non spontaneous approach to music making, i.e. the Sonic Soldier Syndrome.

I read it here — a new blog to me.


Maybe because I play a solo instrument (English horn) much of the time, which has solos nearly any time it’s included in a work, I don’t feel quite “sonic soldier”ish. I dunno. But I do feel as if I get to be expressive and add my take on what I do. At the same time, of course, I do have to follow the written part. I don’t get to be a creator, for the most part, but I do feel as if I get to be creative. There’s a difference, but I’m happy to be doing what I do.

I wouldn’t ever compare myself to a composer, though. Or Shakespeare. Truth be told, I don’t usually compare myself to anyone else. I compare what I’m doing to what I’ve done in the past. Am I better? I’m I playing something worse? Have I added something new to what I am doing? Have I taken away something unnecessary? I think those questions can keep my fairly busy.

Well, that and whining about reeds.

14. January 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Links

Current admissions officer, Ivy League university:

“Any admissions director who uses the line about needing an oboe player is lying. There’s no admissions person in the country with a clue what the student orchestra needs. More likely, Mommy and Daddy gave a $1 million donation. That oboe thing is just a PR ploy.”

Interesting … and of course the word “oboe” appeared four times in the article. Typical.

I happen to know that sometimes an oboist is admitted purely because he or she plays oboe. But only rarely. I can tell you I will no longer go to bat for an oboist who isn’t accepted in the school; if a student isn’t accepted academically, the student probably belongs elsewhere.

Oh. And the subject of this blog entry? Please don’t heed it. It’s just in the article, and I stole it from them. Because I could.

Now go practice your oboe.

14. January 2009 · Comments Off on Oh Cut It Out · Categories: Links, Opera

A cosmetic surgery opera? Yep. It’s happening. You can see pictures and here some of the music here.

I dunno. The subject matter doesn’t really interest me. The music didn’t exactly grab me either, but of course I didn’t hear much in that under 3 minute slide show.

But heck, I’d play it … let’s hope they didn’t cut out the oboe section. 😉